Golden Charter Funeral Plans Review
- One of the UK's largest funeral plan providers
- A network of over 2,900 funeral directors
- 5 funeral plans to choose from
- You can pay extra to guarantee third party charges for 5 years
Golden Charter is a leading funeral plan provider. It is owned by an association of independent funeral directors and have one of the widest network of funeral director branches in the UK.
In this review: To help you compare Golden Charter funeral plans, we look at the way they work, the pros and cons, payment options available and whether they are safe.
Once you have read the Golden Charter review, you can see how they compare with other FCA regulated plan providers or read the rest of our prepaid funeral plan reviews.
Who is Golden Charter?
Golden Charter is the largest provider of prepaid funeral plans to independent funeral directors. The company is owned by a association of funeral directors, has over 30 years experience working with a network of more than 2,900 independent funeral directors throughout the UK.
What prepaid funeral plans do Golden Charter offer?
Golden Charter offer 5 plans to choose from that range from £1,749 to £4,099.
- Basic funeral plan
- Value funeral plan
- Standard funeral plan
- Select funeral plan
- Premier funeral plan
Their cheapest funeral plan is a direct cremation plan that offers a simple unattended cremation without a service. The four remaining plans are more traditional and include a service for friends and family to attend.
Here is how the Golden Charter direct cremation and traditional funeral plans work:
Golden Charter direct cremation plan – with no funeral service
Basic plan – this direct cremation plan provides a simple dignified fuss free cremation with no funeral service.
It includes the funeral directors help and guidance with the documentation, collection and transportation of deceased within a 25 mile radius (within working hours), a suitable coffin and an allowance of £500 towards the cremation fees.
With this direct cremation plan, the date, time and the place of the cremation is chosen by the funeral director, not the family.
To find out more about direct cremation read our 5 minute guide.
Golden Charter traditional plans – with a funeral service
Value Plan – this funeral plan provides a simple cremation or burial funeral with a service but has some limitations.
It includes the funeral directors help and guidance with the documentation; collection and transportation of deceased within a 25 mile radius (within working hours), funeral services on the day; a basic coffin and use of the chapel of rest within office hours.
The date and time of the funeral service on this plan is chosen by the funeral director and not the family.
This plan also includes a £800 allowance to help with third party costs.
Standard Plan - this funeral plan provides a simple cremation or burial funeral with a service but offers greater flexibility.
It includes the funeral directors help and guidance with the documentation; collection and transportation of deceased within a 25 mile radius (within working hours), funeral services on the day; a simple coffin, hearse and use of the chapel of rest within office hours.
A funeral procession is included to the funeral location and family can choose the date and time of the service.
This plan also comes with a £1,100 allowance to help with third party costs.
Select Plan - this funeral plan provides a cremation or burial funeral with a few added extras.
It includes the funeral directors help and guidance with the documentation; collection and transportation of deceased within a 25 mile radius (within working hours), funeral services on the day; a high quality coffin, hearse, a funeral procession and use of the chapel of rest within office hours.
You have the flexibility to choose the date and time of the funeral and one limousine is included for family.
This plan also comes with a £1,100 allowance to help with third party costs.
Premier Plan – this funeral plan is Golden Charter’s most comprehensive funeral plan, available for either cremation or burial.
It includes the funeral directors help and guidance with the documentation; collection and transportation of deceased within a 25 mile radius (within working hours), funeral services on the day at time to suit you; a superior coffin, hearse, a funeral procession and use of the chapel of rest within office hours.
This plan comes with two limousines and a £1,100 allowance to help with third party costs.
What are third party costs?
Third party costs are essential funeral costs that are not controlled by the funeral director, namely the cremation or burial fees, interment fees and the minister or officiant’s fees (doesn’t include the doctor’s fees).
Golden Charter funeral plans include an allowance towards these costs, they do not guarantee them. The allowance is held in the trust fund and may increase in value over time. This means there could be more to pay when the time comes if the third party costs exceed the allowance included in the plan.
Golden Charter’s optional third party cost guarantee
If you choose cremation and pay in one go or over 12 months, you can guarantee your third party costs for 5 years for an additional cost of £200 (not available with the basic plan). This means that if you die within 5 years of taking out the plan, your third party costs are guaranteed.
If you die after this period, the third party costs would not be guaranteed but the £200 would be added to your allowance.
What are the pros and cons of a Golden Charter funeral plan?
Whilst there are benefits in having a funeral plan in place, there are some drawbacks which are worth taking into account. Here we look at the pros and cons of a Golden Charter funeral plan, to help you decide which is the best funeral plan for you.
Golden Charter funeral plan pros
- 5 plans to choose from
- Plans can be used for burial or cremation (the basic plan is cremation only)
- Guarantees the cost of your funeral directors services as detailed in the plan
- Plans include an allowance towards third party costs
- Collection of the deceased within a 25 mile radius
- Wide network of independent funeral directors throughout the UK
- Flexibility to personalise the plan and add funds for additional services such as flowers
- Option to guarantee third party costs for 5 years
- Transportation to the funeral director’s premises if death occurs whilst on holiday
- Authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority
- You can spread the cost over 12 months without incurring additional fees
- You are covered for your funeral services after 12 months on instalment plans as long as your payments are up to date (immediate cover if death is as a result of an accident)
Golden Charter funeral plan cons
- Your services are only provided once you have paid the full amount or at least 12 monthly instalments
- You incur additional charges with all instalment plans that are greater than 12 months
- Depending on the size of the allowance when the time comes, you could pay more for third party costs
- Doesn’t include doctor’s fees if required
- You may pay more for collection out of hours or outside the 25 mile radius
- Plans do not include the cost of a burial plot
- Doesn’t include additional funeral costs such as flowers, a memorial, orders of service or the wake
- If you move home, you may pay more if the newly appointed funeral director requires additional costs
Golden Charter reviews by their customers
Golden Charter is reviewed by customers on the independent review website Trustpilot. They have a 4.6 star rating out of 5 which is classed as excellent.
Golden Charter reviews by the industry
In addition to customer reviews on Trustpilot, Golden Charter funeral plan reviews by consumer champions Which and independent researcher of financial products Defaqto can be found on their websites.
Are Golden Charter funeral plans safe?
Golden Charter funeral plans are safe as they are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. This means the company has to demonstrate they comply with the FCA’s rules and code of conduct that ensure customers are treated fairly, products are fit for purpose and money is held securely.
Being authorised by the FCA means that for added protection, customers also have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the Financial Services Ombudsman.
How can I pay for a Golden Charter Funeral Plan?
You can pay for a Golden Charter funeral plan a number of ways, depending on whether you have the funds available to pay outright, or prefer to spread your payments.
Paying in one go or over 12 months is the cheapest way to buy a Golden Charter funeral plan as you don’t incur any additional fees.
Depending on your age you can spread your payments up to 15 years with a minimum deposit of £49, all of which include additional fees.
You are covered for the services included in the plan after an initial period of 12 months. So, if you were to die after the first 12 month period but before your instalments are complete, as long as your monthly premiums are up to date, the guaranteed services included in the plan will be provided with nothing more to pay.
Am I eligible for a Golden Charter funeral plan?
You can buy a Golden Charter funeral plan from the age of 18 and there is no upper age limit when paying in one go.
You must be 78 or younger to apply for an instalment plan and have completed your payments by the age of 80.
Can I choose a Burial or Cremation funeral?
Yes, burial or cremation services are available within the plan. The £800 or £1,100 allowance that is included in the plan (depending on the level of service you choose) can be used to help with either the third party costs associated with a burial or cremation funeral. If the allowance is insufficient, there could be more for your family to pay.
If there is any money left over in the allowance, this will not be paid back to the estate or the family.
Can I cancel my plan?
If you pay in one go or over 12 months, you can cancel within 30 days and receive a full refund of any money paid. After this period, the money paid into the plan would be refunded, minus Golden Charter’s arrangement fee of £249.
If you pay by instalments and cancel the plan within 12 months, you will receive a refund of all premiums paid. If you cancel the plan after this period, your premiums would be refunded, minus Golden Charter’s arrangement fee of £249.
Who will my funeral director be?
Golden Charter work with over 2,900 independent funeral directors throughout the UK. When you buy a plan, you can either let them choose a local company for you or nominate a preferred funeral director. As long as they accept the Golden Charter funeral plan, their details will be added to your plan.
What happens to my funeral if I move home?
If you move anywhere in mainland UK, the plan will move with you. The cost of transfer if there is one will depend on the funeral director.
What should I do now?
Now you have read the Golden Charter funeral plan review you may want to:
- See how funeral plans compare with our list of FCA regulated providers
- Read our funeral plan reviews to see how other companies compare
- Find out more about low cost funerals if you prefer a simple cremation without a funeral